BLOG: 2011 Christian web conference

Biola is hosting the 2011 Christian Web Conference Thursday through Saturday. Stay tuned for blogs from the conference.

When is it acceptable for someone in the business building to be on their phone while listening to a speaker? During Biola’s Christian Web Conference, it’s not only okay, it’s encouraged. CWC brings together thinkers and professionals to discuss the future of the internet and how it will affect the church. Attendees are tweeting about the discussions, networking with other professionals, and preparing for the future.

See our blogs on the conference below:

John Mark Reynolds, Saturday, April 16

Amy Seed

John Mark Reynolds, founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, opened the last session of the conference by saying that the world is headed in an ethically different direction on the Internet than what people think.

There are positives to the new media world, such as an increase of accountability, Reynolds said. People are more prone to watch their actions and what they post online because parents or potential employers might see it.

The danger of the social media world, he explained, is that people are good because of social conformity rather than virtue. People are afraid of backlash from people who disagree with their opinions or actions, so they refrain from taking risks. He called this the Facebook chilling effect because people are starting to lack the courage to express their true opinions.

Reynolds explained that privacy in a new media world is hard and that Christians should work to create privacy zones. This is true especially within church services. It is beneficial to have conversations without fear that what is being said will be repeated online. He compared these conversations to the privacy of a confessional and that what someone tells a priest is never to be repeated.

He said social media has made the world a tough place in which to grow intellectually, but Christians need to fight the tyranny. However, he also encouraged the audience to tolerate the strong opinions of those who oppose them.

In closing, he discussed the necessity of courage in new media. His advice to the audience was to choose whose opinions they care about and ignore the voices that want to tear them down.

“If you’re not going to be brave enough to put it on the line, who will be?” he asked.

Scott McClellan, Saturday, April 16

Amy Seed

Scott McClellan, editor of Collide Magazine, opened the seminar by emphasizing the importance of having a strategy to establish an online presence.

He said anyone can create a social media presence, and setting up a profile on any social media site takes about three to five minutes.

Having a good social media strategy is important because the first impression in the digital world is huge. How do users know if they are on the right track? Strategy is key.

He explained his vision of what social media can be, which is people joining together for a common cause to communicate with each other.

“There is nothing more powerful than inviting people to join you in living a meaningful story,” McClellan said.

An important approach to social media is using it to connect with the right people and form meaningful connections with them instead of shallow ones.

He emphasized that social media is optional. If someone subscribes to you on Twitter or Facebook, they can always unsubscribe. It is not a lifetime commitment.

McClellan said there are five things organizations should use social media to do:

  1. Listen – Good for research about who your audience is and what they care about
  2. Converse/Interact – Many people would be shocked if someone in social media responded to them. A good strategy is to look for conversations others started and take part in those.
  3. Share – Share things your organization did not write or produce but that your audience will appreciate. Become someone who is valuable to follow, he said.
  4. Tell stories – Facts are important, but stories draw people in and transform them.
  5. Invite people – Good communicators invite people into the stories they tell. Ask your audience for help and invite them to become involved.

In closing, McClellan encouraged the audience to establish a social media mission statement for their organizations and find social media role models.

Matt Perman, Saturday, April 16

Elizabeth Sallie

Matt Perman opened with saying that productivity is first and foremost about the Gospel. If, he argued, the idea is to let our light shine before men, then we need to learn how to make technology work for us well. Websites, he expanded, are a means of sharing good and loving our neighbor.

This should transform the way we do websites, he said. This leads to usability, he said. The Gospel has something to say about our site strategy, not just content, he argued.

We should make our sites usable at great cost and expense to ourselves, Perman mentioned. A usable site should not make your user think, he explained to the audience.

This approach makes sense. It’s uniquely Christian in that the goal is not just having pretty sites so you suck users in, but instead a creative approach to website design that helps the user get the most out of the site. If they aren’t distracted, then they can excellent, Gospel-centered content.

Simply designating the user as “your” user implies the designer’s duty to a user. This is taken to a completely different level when the Gospel is brought in.

Of course, Perman offers, there are tangible payoffs for a usable site. When your site is usable and your goal is to benefit others, then you win too.

Perman further supported what was already a logical argument with Scripture.

Charles Lee, Friday, April 15

Elizabeth Sallie

Choose your own adventure, said Charles Lee, as he opened the direction of his seminar to the audience. With a few minutes of selection, the audience agreed they wanted to hear about ideation.

Quickly, Lee recommended that leaders keep in mind that idea-making is strongly tied to implementation. Ideas are worth less if there isn’t a practical way to work them out.

Most great ideas come from the streets, he explains. It’s important to realize what people you have attempting to work with, said Lee.

Sharing an idea is great, but not too early. You need to process before you just share your idea. There is less of a chance to actually implement the idea, because you’ve tricked your brain into thinking that you’re actually doing something.

The church needs a business plan even though they are a non-profit, said Lee. There needs to be a plan, even if it develops as you go.

Lee emphasized multiple solutions and affordability. He encouraged the audience to think in terms of investment, not cost. Lee’s information is practical, not just creative. The idea here is that willingness to spend money to invest in something for the long term is reflective of passion and forethought being combined.

Lee continued by reminding the audience of the importance of simplicity and building trust with your audience. Social media is to be used to listen, not just speak, he said. These concepts so heavily lend to the idea of practically implementing ideas.

The initial presentation wrapped up with thoughts on how to balance idea-making with a personal life. Lee charged the audience to “work hard and persevere,” before opening the session open to discussion and questions.

0 0 votes
Article Rating